On November 19, the Springville High Red Devil Cross Country team traveled to Casa Grande, Arizona, to participate in the Nike Southwest Regionals. The weather was warm and there was a light breeze as the top schools in the southwest region stepped up to the line. After a great season, our Red Devils were admitted into the boys championship race. They were set to face off against the other teams in hopes of earning an invite to the National Meet (NXN).
As the gun sounded, everyone was off at sprint to get good position. After the one mile mark, Davis High School had a comfortable lead over the entire field. But, what happened in the next two miles, is what had everyone in the country on edge. It was no surprise that the number one team in the nation, Utah’s American Fork, won the meet thanks to their three nationally ranked individuals. But, the real question was who would be joining the American Fork boys to Portland? After what felt like a long wait. The results were finally in. Everyone stood and waited anxiously to hear what the announcer would say. With six nationally ranked teams in a region that can only send two auto bid teams to NXN, there was sure to be some stress.
As the tenth through fifth place teams were announced. It all came down to the final four. The top two teams would automatically go to nationals and the third and fourth place teams would have to wait and see if a committee would debate and eventually favor four out of eighteen teams across the country with a wild card bid to NXN. The crowd went silent as Timpanogos, with 201 points, was called to receive their 4th place trophy. In the back was the Springville team all lit up as the eagerly awaited to see where they would fall. After Timpanogos was ushered off the stage. The announcer said “the next up with 195, so you made it very close, within six. Then with a 195, this is Grant Gardner…” The rest couldn’t be made out because the Springville team jumped up and screamed so loudly that the rest couldn’t be heard.
The seven varsity boys made their way to the front to accept their trophy and was then taken to a tent where they would be processed for nationals along with Timpanogos, Davis (who finished second), and American Fork.
Now, after a week of waiting, the final four teams in were announced. Huddled around a phone, the Springville boys team waited to receive a call with good news. The phone rang and everyone got quiet as they could hear their coach on the other end. After a couple of minutes of dragging it out and adding to the suspense, Coach Sam Smith finally delivered, “Congratulations boys! You’re going to Nationals!”
This Thursday the Red Devil Cross Country team will fly to Portland, Oregon, to race this Saturday to see who truly is the best in the country. We are so proud of the athletes and coaches that have all spent months of training to be where they are now. For anyone who is interested in watching the meet, it will be live streamed December 3 on http://nxn.runnerspace.com at 11:30 am.
Photo L to R: Olympian Bernard Lagat, Brandon Garnica, Paul Young, Grant Gardner, Caleb Garnica, Haden Penrod, Zack Dalley, Adam Krieger